"My first thought was good if we had introduced a child that matched this population to one hundred mothers and one hundred fathers.I thought that overall, moms would probably be more tolerant and that it would be maybe even more necessary to have a daddy hug, "Dittman told CNN
So he ordered an online shirt – with the words "Free Dad Hugs" in large print – and returned from his home in Karns City, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh for the annual Gay Pride Parade, the June 9th.
Dittman said that he thought he would spend a fun day with people celebrating and partying, but he also knew that some people might need hugs with their dad.
But he did not expect people to kiss him emotionally or to touch so many people.
Dittman says that while he was standing on the parade route, a woman ran tears in her eyes and hugged him while thanking him.
"This young woman has tears in her eyes and she has thrown my arms around me and thanked me, thanked me and thanked me," Dittman told CNN. . "Obviously, I was not going to be the first to let go in. But that's when I realized that even though we were going out there to spread joy and have smiles and smiles. things like that, maybe it was going to be a little different. "
The woman told Dittman that she was celebrating the party but a switch rocked into her when she saw him hugging, he said. "I guess it strikes her to be in that kind of happy festival and just need a hug," Dittman told CNN.
Dittman said in an article on Facebook that another young man had hugged him and was bloody in his arms. The man had been sent back at the age of 19 and had not spoken to his parents since.
Dittman said that he had done hundreds of hugs at the parade, some of them "super happy" and others less.
In a Facebook post after the parade, he encouraged parents to love and accept their children.
"Imagine that your child feels so lost to you that he sinks into the arms of a complete stranger and sobs constantly just because this stranger is wearing a shirt offering cuddles on the part of D & C. A father, think about the depth of their pain, try to imagine how these cuts should be, "he wrote. "Please, do not be the parent of a child who has to bear this burden. I have met MUCH too much of them, of all ages, today." . "